D.U.F.F – Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Maggie finding out that is what people think of you. This is exactly what has happened to Bianca. Whilst she was out at a club with her two best friends Casey and Jessica the biggest douche bag (and her worst enemy) Wesley came over to talk to her. When she questioned why he had chosen to talk to her of all people he tells her she is the DUFF. And talking to the DUFF will guarantee that one of her friends will think he is a nice guy and will potentially have se with him. Bianca is mortified.
However, after this Bianca’s life tailspins out of control and rather than hating on Wesley more than normal she starts to have a fling with him. But her fling comes at a cost.
Admittedly, I had never heard of the term DUFF before but looking back on my social group of friends I can see how many times in my past I have been the DUFF. I then realised that at some point everyone is the DUFF. We all have social anxieties that plague us. This may seem strange but I would know I was going to have a good day if I had the best maintained hair on the bus on the way to university. It sounds completely crazy and illogical because….well it is crazy and illogical. We always thing that someone is prettier, dresses nicer, has straighter teeth than we do; we are so quick to pick apart ourselves and everyone around us that it is no wonder terms like DUFF exist.
What Keplinger does brilliantly in DUFF is make you realise that we are all different and that cliché as it may sound, beauty is only skin deep. She shows the constant anxiety and blatant lack of confidence that a teenage girl will go through on a daily basis. She frames this with other issues such as alcoholism and violence, social grouping, education and applying for university, and sex.
There is a lot of sex in this book so it definitely veers towards the older young adult reader and yes there are a few frequent expletives but then in reality what teenager deals with real problems with a “gosh darn it” and a feisty shake of the fist. What Keplinger has produced succinctly is a book about being a teenager on the cusp of adulthood with a sharp and witty verisimilitude.
DUFF by Kody Keplinger is available now.